Public safety officials hope to avoid issues with marijuana in the new semester

URBANA, Ill. – As students return to campus for the first time in 2020, the University of Illinois Police Department is clearing the air about marijuana possession and use on school grounds.

Although the state of Illinois has legalized recreational use of marijuana for individuals 21 and older, federal prohibitions on marijuana remain in effect for all colleges and universities which receive federal funds. That means all forms of marijuana remain illegal on campus property.

Additionally, smoking marijuana on university property violates the Smoke- and Tobacco-Free Campus policy.

“We do not want anyone to end up in trouble simply for misunderstanding or not knowing the details,” said Interim Chief of Police Matt Myrick. “We are not anticipating any issues, but we think it is important to be completely transparent about the rules so all of our campus community members have a clear understanding of the expectations.”

Campus property includes all property owned, leased, occupied, operated or controlled by the university – including classrooms, residence halls, libraries, outdoor spaces, sidewalks, and university-owned roads, among many other examples. A comprehensive map of the Urbana-Champaign campus property is available at

There are other rules to be aware of when you are off-campus, and those are listed below. Remember, these rules apply off campus only, as possession or use of marijuana is strictly prohibited on university property:

  • Marijuana can be possessed only by people 21 or older.
  • While in a vehicle, marijuana must be sealed in an odor-proof, child resistant container. Violating this statute can result in the driver being arrested for a misdemeanor.
  • Marijuana may only be sold by licensed businesses.
  • The maximum a person can possess at one time is 30 grams of cannabis flower or 5 grams of concentrate. Cannabis-infused products may contain up to 500 milligrams of THC.
  • Use is prohibited in any public place (like streets and sidewalks), in any motor vehicle, on school grounds, near someone under the age of 21, or in any place where smoking is prohibited. You may smoke or ingest cannabis in your own private residence, provided that residence is not on university property.

It is also important to note that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has previously issued guidance that violations of federal law involving marijuana could affect a student’s immigration status or the naturalization process, even in cases where those actions do not violate state law.

The University of Illinois Police Department does not enforce immigration law, and UIPD officers will never ask about a person’s immigration or citizenship status – nonetheless, it is important for students who are not U.S. citizens to understand the implications that possession or use of marijuana could have on their immigration status, visa applications, or their ability to enter the United States.

“We have no issues when students enjoy their free time in a way that is safe, healthy and respectful of each other and the law,” Myrick said. “So it is important that students and visitors are respectful of our campus policy because we do not want anyone in trouble for this.”